to address needs of diocese
Dear Friends in Christ,
The centennial of our diocese has begun. The highpoint of this celebration will be the visit of the Holy Father's personal representative to the United States, the Apostolic Nuncio Most. Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, on June 16 of this year for our special Centennial Mass in Sioux City. There are other events planned throughout the coming year to remember and celebrate the achievements of the Lord in us in the past century.
We are also marking our centennial with a financial campaign for endowments in four specific areas of our diocesan life. In the past history of our local church, monies were raised for buildings, for churches, schools and places of outreach. That particular foundation was secured by the sacrifice and generosity of our ancestors.
As we look to the present and future challenges of our diocese, the issue is not primarily "brick and mortar". There is another area of concern for us. We must allow the activities of education, formation and outreach to be sustained and to thrive. What can permit us to do this is the creation of endowments. In an endowment, the monies realized are themselves not spent; instead, they are invested and the interest that accrues is used to further the specific activities of the endowment.
When I arrived here in 1997, many people visited me with their concerns and suggestions about genuine needs and possibilities in the Sioux City Diocese. After I became Diocesan Ordinary in November of 1998, I followed up a suggestion, given initially by the Catholic School Foundation, to conduct a feasibility study on the most important issues facing us as a diocese.
As a result of that study and further consultation, I decided that a campaign for endowments, in four distinctive areas of need in our diocese, should be established for our centennial year. Some phases of that campaign are already underway. At this time, I want to announce the Parish Phases of this campaign. For the next few months, all of our parishes will be involved in seeking out the generosity of their members towards these endowments.
The four areas for the endowments are: Catholic schools, particularly the salaries of our teachers; Catholic Charities and its work of counseling and outreach; Minorities Ministries, particularly the formation of leaders for our Hispanic and Vietnamese communities; religious education, particularly the formation of our volunteer catechists, youth ministers, professional lay ministers and adult leaders.
Our total goal of the campaign is $20 million dollars of endowment, with each area given a specific allotment. In the materials that will be distributed, each area for endowment is explained and discussed fully.
I want to take this occasion, at the start of the Parish Phases of our Centennial Campaign, to encourage all the members of our diocese to be involved in this effort of stewardship for the good of our entire local church. Every action of financial generosity and every pledge for a campaign involve an implicit theology of Giving. The Lord blesses us and we bless the Name of the Lord and give glory to God by the act of our stewardship, our giving of time, talent and treasure. Further, by our giving, we show ourselves as members in communion with the Body of Christ, his church. We are members of parishes. But as parishes we form our diocese.
The successes of the past century were founded on the commitment by our ancestors to our Catholic faith and on the desire to see that faith flourish in concrete ways. Our present and future successes need to be motivated by the same commitment and desire. May the Lord grant us grace to see this campaign as part of a wider intent which is to celebrate, remember and witness to our Catholic faith. May the prayers of the Mother of God sustain us in our efforts.
Sincerely yours in Christ,